How to Heat Outdoor Plants in Winter

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Most outdoor plants, whether potted or in the ground, need to be protected from frost and cold. Frost can quickly kill certain plants, young saplings, herbs and vegetables. If frost is predicted, there are ways to protect your plants, from bringing the potted plants inside to warming them with space heaters when necessary.

Things You'll Need

  • Newspaper
  • Canvas material
  • Blankets or sheets
  • Christmas lights
  • Space heaters
  • Mulch or straw
  • Bubble wrap
  • Layer about two inches of mulch or straw around the base of plants about halfway through the fall season. This will keep the soil warm.

  • Wrap potted plants with bubble wrap or other material, such as newspaper, as insulation. Group pots together and wrap the bubble wrap around the group, protecting them from cold winds.

  • Protect vines on walls or a trellis with large sheets of canvas. Pin the material above the fence or trellis and pin it down the sides to cover the vines or climbing plants completely.

  • Cover delicate plants like herbs, fruits, young plants and vegetables with sheets or newspaper. Cover the plant, then tuck the sheet under the plant on the ground, protecting from cold winds, rain or snow.

  • Warm small trees or shrubs with strings of Christmas lights. Use small lights for smaller plants, and larger bulbs for more hardy or bushy plants. Wrap the light strands up the trees, covering it so the heat is equally distributed.

  • Use portable heaters, electric or gas, to heat large areas or plants. Make sure that the heater isn't so close that it burns the plant. Keep heaters at least three to four feet away from plants.

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